30 Days of Thanks: Day Twelve

Today I am thankful for the memories of my grandfather.

He passed away in 2005 and there’s not a day that goes by that I do not think of him. He decorated for every holiday (even Valentines Day!), so when I put up the Halloween decorations, and especially the Christmas decorations I think of him. When I cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family, I think of him. When I teach Mila colors, I think of how he taught me “lellow” and “urple” and how my grandmother would throw a fit that he taught me the wrong words, (and we would just giggle at her). When I eat Lucky Charms, I think of how he let me eat all the marshmallows and he ate all the cereal. When I have my morning coffee, I think of how I would sit on his lap (or next to him at the table when I got way too big for his poor aching lap) and read the comics with him. When I see Ziggy or Snoopy, I think of him. When I think of the beach and fishing, I think of him. When I see a beautiful sea of colors from blooming flowers in the spring, I think of him.

He was my father before I had a father. He was my best friend. I was his Ande and he was my Poppy.

Music and Religion

It’s amazing how one song can strike a memory; one long, lost and forgotten memory. So instantly you’re placed in a specific time, in a certain mindset with so many  fond and vivid memories. This song did just that to me the other day.

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When I was somewhere around 11-years-old, I was on some kind of excursion with two other youth group members, (yes, I belonged to a church youth group). The guy was driving, (I’m so horrible with names, I can’t even recall these important people some 20 plus years later), and the girl was in the passenger seat. I, of course then, was in the back seat. I remember the car being old and sporty, the day being dark (probably evening, so this may have been a camp-in type thing we were having – like a “rock-a-thon”) and crisp – the weather was still nice. I have no idea where we were going, (probably running an errand) or why I was with them. I just remember this song coming on the radio. I asked, “who is this?”. The guy replied, “Mr. Big”. I found it such an odd name for a singer that this entire moment stuck in my head.

The band never went on to be very “big” (for me anyway), yet I loved the song from the moment I heard it – and I still do today. But, I digress.

When this memory came gushing back to me the other day, my train of thought led me into religion, (ah hem, the song is associated with my then-church’s youth group). When I was 10 and 11, I belonged to a church and it was a great church. I loved the congregation like my own family – and it was just that, a family. I belonged to choir and youth group, attended Sunday school and made my way through confirmation becoming a member of the church, was baptized, and on and on. Our youth group was very active in the community, (singing carols in nursing homes, visiting and befriending members that couldn’t make it to church, visiting with those less fortunate, raising money for different charities, and on and on) and was enlightening to my young mind. I was in a world of friendship, love, charity and serenity. I loved those years and still cherish them. Unfortunately, the pastor left the church and my world crumbled.

You may ask, what does this have to do with Mila? Well, I’ll tell you… All this came back with one crucial, overwhelming, important question: what will I do with Mila? How will I introduce her to religion? Will  I even introduce her to religion? Which religion? What do I believe in? Should I attend church? Is this something I teach her or show her by my own actions? Ok, yes, that was more than one question.

I don’t have the answers and as much as I’d like to push it to the back-burner (considering Mila’s only 14 and a half months), I know Mila will be questioning me before I know it.

Ah, the beauty of parenting…

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* “To Be with You” (a number one single in 15 countries in 1991)

Newborn Lesson #39

August 9, 2011: Enjoy your pregnancy and don’t become attached to anything – the good or the not so good. It all fades.

For example, my hair and nails never grew so fast, (and no it wasn’t the prenatal vitamins, because I’m still taking them); I can bend over again; I can walk again without wobbling; I see Mila’s twitching and remember that feeling inside of me, yet I don’t remember the pain.